Avoiding Shoulder Pain at Work

desk460Preventing Shoulder Pain

For most people, the key to minimizing neck and shoulder pain is to perfect the workspace or work environment, develop better posture, and to reduce the stress your daily routine puts on your body. The streamlining of equipment and devices so that they function well with the human body is called “ergonomics.” Here are a few suggestions to adjust the ergonomics of your workplace and to reduce shoulder pain at work.

Sit Correctly

Consider these full-body posture tips when sitting at your desk:

  • feet should be firmly planted and flat on the floor or on a stable footrest
  • thighs should be parallel to the ground
  • elbows should be supported and close to your body
  • wrists and hands should lay in-line with your forearms.
  • lower back (the lumbar region) should be supported
  • shoulders should be relaxed

via Avoiding Sholder Pain at Work.

The Understated Injury: Overexertion

82183-GettyImages_83665722Injuries related to overexertion account for over 3 million hospital visits a year. Most of these injuries are preventable. Use your head; avoid pushing your body past its limits.

Physical Overexertion

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), physical overexertion is the most common cause of workers compensation claims. These types of injuries usually occur through repetitive motion such as typing, lifting heavy objects, or working in an awkward position. The pain is often acute, though it will decrease after medical care and preventative measures are taken. However, if the overexertion is constant, acute pain can become chronic, leading to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.

via The Understated Injury: Overexertion.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

yoga-carpet-tunnelIf you spend a lot of time doing activities that involve forceful or repetitive hand or wrist movement or use of vibrating equipment, you have an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities can include driving, working with small instruments, knitting, or using a sander. You can reduce your risk-and any hand pain or weakness you may already have-by taking a few simple steps.

Key points

  • Many health conditions and diseases make you more likely to get carpal tunnel symptoms. But if you exercise, stay at a healthy weight, control other health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, and avoid smoking, you can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Arranging your activity and work space using ergonomic guidelines can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Office ergonomics focuses on how a workstation is set up, including the placement of your desk, computer monitor, paperwork, chair, and associated tools, such as a computer keyboard and mouse. The same ideas can help you arrange your position for other daily activities.
  • Proper body mechanics are key to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Evaluate your daily routine for activities that increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Take frequent breaks from activities to rest, stretch, change positions, or alternate with another activity.

via How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Safety Tip: Keep Exits Clear

lMake sure your workplace entrances and exits are fully operational and easily accessible. If your employees need to get out of the building quickly, make sure that their exits aren’t blocked by any large or unmovable objects. This is more than just a workplace violation: this is a potential life or death matter.

via How to Reduce Accidents in the Workplace: 11 Steps.

Workplace Safety & Health Administration and Enforcement

Construction Inspector - SatisfiedThree Department of Labor (DOL) agencies have responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the laws enacted to protect the safety and health of workers in America.

OSHA administers the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state systems.

Nearly every employee in the nation comes under OSHA’s jurisdiction with some exceptions such as miners, some transportation workers, many public employees, and the self-employed.

Employers subject to the OSH Act also have a general duty to provide work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

DOL’s MSHA has responsibility for administration and enforcement of the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which protects the safety and health of workers employed in the nation’s mines.

The Act applies to all mining and mineral processing operations in the United States, regardless of size, number of employees, or method of extraction.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

FLSA contains rules concerning the employment of young workers, those under the age of 18, and is administered and enforced by DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. Intended to protect the health and well-being of youth in America, the FLSA contains minimum age restrictions for employment, restrictions on the times of day youth may work, and the jobs they may perform.

Other resources

Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs – Administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who experience work-related injury or occupational disease.

Office of the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD) and the SHARE initiative also play a role in the administration of DOL workplace safety and health programs.

For help in determining which safety and health standards apply to particular employment situations, select from the subtopics lists. Also, see the Office of Compliance Assistance Policy’s Web pages on safety and health in the workplace.

via U.S. Department of Labor — Find It By Topic — Workplace Safety & Health.

Your Best Defense Against a Workplace Injury

information_about_workplace_health_and_safety_policiesA safety and health management system (SHMS) is your best defense against a workplace injury.

An effective safety and health management system has five primary elements:

•          Management Commitment

•          Employee Involvement

•          Workplace Analysis

•          Hazard Prevention and Control

•          Safety and Health Training

This systematic approach integrates occupational safety and health objectives into the company’s organizational structure.

The results of a system approach include:

•          An effective system supports the organization’s philosophy.

•          Safety and health policies and goals are clearly communicated.

•          Accountability for implementing the system is understood and accepted.

•          Long-term solutions are implemented rather than one-time fixes.

•          Evaluation of results over time promotes continual improvement.

•          An effective system positively impacts the company’s bottom line.

Confined Spaces

confinedspace“Confined Space” refers to a space which by design has limited openings for entry and exit, unfavorable natural ventilation which could contain or produce dangerous air contaminants, and which is not intended for continuous employee occupancy. Confined spaces include but are not limited to storage tanks, compartments of ships, process vessels, pits, silos, vats, degreasers, reaction vessels, boilers, ventilation and exhaust ducts, sewers, tunnels, underground utility vaults, and pipelines. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program, fatal injuries in confined spaces fluctuated from a low of 81 in 1998 to a high of 100 in 2000 during the five-year period, averaging 92 fatalities per year.

via CDC – Confined Spaces – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.


Lock_out_Tag-outLockout-tagout (LOTO) or lock and tag is a safety procedure which is used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. It requires that hazardous power sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before any repair procedure is started. “Lock and tag” works in conjunction with a lock usually locking the device or the power source with the hasp, and placing it in such a position that no hazardous power sources can be turned on. The procedure requires that a tag be affixed to the locked device indicating that it should not be turned on.

via Lockout-tagout – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

10 Workplace Safety Tips

work_no_accidentsSafe workplaces don’t happen by accident…They happen when there is a culture of safety within the workplace. To help encourage that culture of safety within your organization – here are 10 Workplace Safety Tips to follow.

  1. Design a safe work area: A work area may include work benches, conveyors, furniture, equipment and vehicles.  The layout of an area where a particular job is based is critical to preventing injuries and ensuring an efficient job and workplace;
  2. Maintain a clean work area:  A clean work area is a Safe work area.  Not only will a clean environment remove many hazards, you will ensure greater productivity from your employees;
  3. Involve your employees in the safety planning: The single most powerful source of motivation for workplace safety – is employee ownership of the safety process;
  4. Provide clear work instructions:  Provide thorough training and clear, written instructions and make sure that each worker reads and acknowledges your safety program;
  5. Focus your safety efforts on the most likely problems: Although it’s necessary to plan for major safety concerns, your greatest impact will come from eliminating the small safety violations that contribute the most frequent injuries;
  6. Encourage your employees to bring safety deficiencies to management’s attention: Employees who provide information and insight into common workplace safety issues are contributing to the culture of safety in your workplace;
  7. Watch and learn how each employee performs their job:  Watch for employees who are taking shortcuts that could reduce safety but also keep an eye out for employees who are performing tasks in an improved manner that could be adopted by the other staff;
  8. Maintain all machinery in good working order:  It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all machinery is in good working order and that a routing maintenance program is in place;
  9. Avoid unnecessary hazards: Do a routine inspection of your workplace frequently to identify any unnecessary hazards;
  10. Revisit your safety guidelines every year. Start off each year with an inspection of your workplace and a thorough review of your safety program.

via 10 Workplace Safety Tips for 2013.